To relate to others compassionately is a challenge. Really communicating to the heart and being there for someone else–our child, spouse, parent, client, patient, or the homeless woman on the street–means not shutting down on that person, which means, first of all, not shutting down on ourselves. This means allowing ourselves to feel what we feel and not pushing it away. It means accepting every aspect of ourselves, even the parts we don’t like. To do this requires openness, which in Buddhism is sometimes called emptiness–not fixating or holding on to anything. Only in an open, nonjudgmental space can we acknowledge what we are feeling. Only in an open space where we’re not all caught up in our own version of reality can we see and hear and feel who others really are, which allows us to be with them and communicate with them properly.
– Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart (p. 78)